Some of us remember it every year on May 1, some have to be reminded in advance. I confess, I did not remember the Law Day until I heard the date, Friday morning. Forgive me for posting late, but I did bring it up earlier today on our Speak Your Piece program.
In our world, it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge Law Day and how its significance could be lost in a milieu of political strife, devastating pandemic, joblessness, closed doors, fear.
You might know that May 1, or May Day, originated in the late 1800s as a workers’ revolt, a labor/ socialist movement that sometimes was commandeered by communists and “anarchists” in the 20th century. There was concern…
We don’t know what or who inspired Law Day, but we can surmise by reading the history of the “workers’ revolt.” In 1958, it was President Dwight Eisenhower, then, who shifted the emphasis from workers’ rebellion to “nation of laws,” when he designated May 1 as Law Day in the United States.
And this was his statement: “In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law.”
As long as I can remember, on May 1, Law Day, the Bucks County Bar Association invited high school students to learn and participate in mock court hearings in the Doylestown-based courthouse to emphasize law and justice. Meanwhile, for years, the American Bar Association chose the national theme.
In years past, speakers from local bar associations would visit schools or speak at luncheons about our legal system and the rights granted to us by the United States Constitution.
Often on May 1, I also think of the late, former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, himself a lawyer. I had the privilege of working for the congressman and recall his frequent Law Day visits to speak to student groups about the Constitution and he Declaration of Independence.
Often, he would hand out copies of the entire U.S. Constitution, with the hope the students would read it, then, or later.
Since the day is nearly over as I write this, we could reflect tomorrow on the rule of law and the rights we have in this country. Or we could talk to our kids about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence next week around the kitchen table. Home schooling?